5CDHW - Trip to Brussels

16 September – 20 September 2018

A part of the 5CHW and the 5DHW went together on a trip to Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Early on Sunday, at 4.45 am, we met our teachers at the airport in Klagenfurt. Obviously, we were very tired. The flight to Vienna only took about thirty minutes and we had to rush to our next flight since we only had about half an hour between getting off the plane and getting onto the next one. After landing, we went to get our suitcases and took the train and the underground to our hotel.

On our first day, we had an appointment at the European Parlamentarium, the EU Parliament’s visitor centre. After some waiting, we were brought to the room where the roleplaying game had been set up. To start with, we were divided in four imaginary political parties. Each party was introduced to two problematic topics, water scarcity and microchips implants for humans. Of course, every party had different opinions on the two subjects. At first, we had to discuss the topics in our group and go around the halls to gather more information. The second part was to find a compromise with the other parties. The game altogether was very interesting and fun and it was a good way to get to know how the EU Parliament works together with the other European institutions. Afterwards, in the same building, we were looking through an exhibition about the European Union’s history.

On Monday, the second day of our trip, we were welcomed in the European Commission by Mr. David Müller who works in the team of the Austrian commissioner Mr. Hahn. He told us a lot about himself, his tasks and the goals of the EU Commission. We got a lot of information about the working environment and how to get an internship there. Later, an employee of the Commission led us through the history of the European Union and we discussed some current topics. Afterwards we went to the “Verbindungsbüro Kärnten”, the EU Representation Office of Carinthia in Brussels, which was a very interesting visit, and we learned a lot about the connections between the EU and Austria.

Tuesday was the day of the European Parliament. Our guide Pavel was a language genius and made some jokes during the whole presentation to keep us entertained. We also got to see the plenary room where all the politicians from every European country meet and where they translate one language into another to bridge language barriers. Later, we visited the House of European History, where the focus is laid on the 19th and 20th centuries, from war and destruction to a united Europe.

On Wednesday, we met a Belgian class in Brussels. It was easy to communicate with them because they are learning English and French at school. We split in groups of four to five people to fill out a questionnaire with them and do some sightseeing in central Brussels. They learned a few things about Austria while we learned some new things about Belgium. When we said good-bye to each other, we took a photo together. The rest of the day we had time to do more sightseeing or to go on a shopping tour.

Thursday was our last day. No more appointments, just enjoying ourselves in Brussels with some waffles and French fries. The two flights were very tiring but we landed safely and were happy to be back in Klagenfurt.

To sum up our trip: It was a very nice experience to see Brussels and to gather a lot of information about how the system of the European Union really works.
(Julia Gruber, Victoria Starzacher, 5CHW)